According to most granite and marble manufacturers, the old rule of thumb is never to use anything on your granite or marble that you wouldn't use on your hands. They also say to never use powdered cleansers or abrasive pads to clean your stone surfaces. Even "soft scrub" type cleaners contain pumice, which is powdered volcanic stone, and might damage your stone countertops. Sealed granite and marble is much easier to maintain than un-sealed, because they are porous materials. Look for a granite and marble cleaner that contains vegetable-derived surfactants that are safe to use in food-prep areas.
The same can be said about stainless steel cleaners. Although stainless steel is highly resistant to corrosion, it is not immune to the damages of many ordinary household chemicals. Acids, chlorine bleach, and other solvents can damage even the toughest stainless steel. Stainless steel is an alloy of iron that contains chromium, which helps form the top protective layer. Many all-purpose cleaners contain chemicals that can harm that protective layer. Stainless steel surfaces are also prone to dulling over time and showing fingerprints from the oils in our skin. Emulsified (mixture of water and oil) cleaners work best on fingerprints and also help to protect the sensitive surface.
Wood finishes are especially sensitive to chemicals found in all-purpose cleaners. You want to look for a cleaner, made specifically for wood, that says “no silicone oil”. If it doesn’t say that, it probably contains silicone oil. While wood cleaners that contain silicone may give your finish a temporary shine, they can leave behind a harmful residue. Nice wooden furniture or cabinets can last a lifetime if they are properly taken care of and maintained regularly. After using a high quality wood cleaner, it’s best to preserve your finish with a wood conditioner. Again, you’ll want to avoid silicone or linseed oils. A natural mixture of waxes and vegetable derived oils will help maintain your wood finishes and repel water, which is the main cause of damage to wood.
In general, just because something says "all-purpose", does not mean it can be (or should be) used on all your household surfaces. Make sure to do your homework and look for the highest quality products available for your specific needs. You probably spent a good deal of time picking out your appliances, countertops and cabinets. Spend as much time looking for the right cleaners for the job, so they can stay as beautiful as they day they were made.
Written by: Justine Lopez, Howard Products
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